What is Bulimia Nervosa?

Bulimia nervosa – better known as "bulimia" – is an eating disorder characterized by patterns of bingeing (consuming a large amount of food in a short amount of time) and purging (eliminating calories consumed).

Symptoms & Signs of Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia (bingeing and purging) is an isolating, secretive illness that prevents many people from enjoying a full and rewarding life. We share the more common symptoms and warning signs for bulimia.


Bingeing more than one time per week

Purging more than one time per week

Bradycardia and orthostasis

A form of low blood pressure that happens when you stand up from sitting or lying down

Swelling of the cheeks or jaw area

Warning Signs


Consuming large amounts of food in a short period of time

Fear of gaining weight

Evidence of binges

Disappearance of large amounts of food or appearance of wrappers/packaging

What Causes Bulimia?

There is no one cause of bulimia. A number of different biological, psychological and sociocultural factors contribute to the development of this condition.


Bulimia has profound negative effects on the body’s systems

There are many serious health risks associated with bulimia. Bingeing and purging, particularly recurrent and/or chronic episodes, have profound negative effects on the body’s systems.

  • Cardiac complications (irregular heartbeat and heart failure stemming from electrolyte imbalances)
  • Dehydration
  • Edema (stemming from periods of purging cessation)
  • Loss of potassium, sodium and chloride from the body
  • Ulcers, pancreatitis

How is Bulimia Nervosa Treated?

Treatment for bulimia at Eating Recovery Center involves a thoughtful fusion of medical, psychiatric, therapeutic and dietary interventions.

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You can recover from bulimia

While bulimia is a very serious illness, the good news is that bulimia can be treated. Without treatment, those suffering with bulimia will experience serious health risks that can have long-lasting effects.

If you are interested in learning more about treatment for eating disorders, including bulimia, we can help. Our eating disorder treatment centers across the nation provide specialized bulimia treatment for diverse patients of all ages and at all levels of care.

We encourage you to call us at 877-825-8584 so we can help you or your loved one begin the healing process.

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Eating Recovery Center is accredited through the Joint Commission. This organization seeks to enhance the lives of the persons served in healthcare settings through a consultative accreditation process emphasizing quality, value and optimal outcomes of services.

Organizations that earn the Gold Seal of Approval™ have met or exceeded The Joint Commission’s rigorous performance standards to obtain this distinctive and internationally recognized accreditation. Learn more about this accreditation here.

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